Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"I want to know who you're having the affair with"

Is it just me or does House cross the line a bit in Sex Kills with his assumption that Wilson is having an affair based on a box of chocolates, his reaction to that assumption, and his lack of support for his friend?
[Wilson is buying a box of chocolates from the little shop in the hospital lobby]
House: Who's the lucky woman?
Wilson: My wife.
House: No, I don't want to know who gets the chocolates; I want to know who you're having the affair with.
Wilson: [to the sales assistant] Fell on his head as a child, tragic.
House: Norwegian chocolate. Frankly, you buy that stuff the terrorists win.
Wilson: Some people bottle up their feelings; have them come out as physical pain. Healthy human beings express feelings such as affection by giving gifts.
House: Gifts express guilt. The more expensive the expression, the deeper the guilt. That's a $12 box so that means you haven't slept with her yet, or she wasn't that good.
Wilson: It's not all about sex, House.
House: Really? When did that change?
[Wilson glares at House]
House: Wilson! How long can you go without sex?
Wilson: How long can you go without annoying people?
House: No seriously, a week? A month?
Wilson: I'm not having an affair.
House: I didn't say you were. Not in this conversation.
Wilson: You sure you're right?
House: Absolutely. Your socks don't match, which means you got dressed in the dark, which means you didn't want to wake your wife which means you didn't want to talk to her, which means…
Wilson: I was referring to your patient.
If Wilson had been having an affair then you'd think House could have been a bit more supportive - harassing Wilson and asking him how long he can go without sex is hardly likely to persuade him to open up about his personal life! And Wilson was there for House through the whole Stacey thing - picking up the pieces the first time she left him and offering advice but still letting him make his own decision the second time. Admittedly afterwards he did tell him he'd made the wrong choice, and was quite happy to shout at him and at Stacey when he thought they were being stupid, but he never made fun of House or belittled his feelings.

Perhaps it isn't such a jump that House would think Wilson was looking elsewhere for female company: we know he's had at least one affair and two failed marriages, and that he works long anti-social hours. But we also know he makes friends easily, has a lot of female friends (Stacey and Cuddy among them) and is someone that women feel comfortable around and telling their problems too (like the crying nurse in Need to Know, or the new oncology nurse in Fidelity).

This isn't the first time we've heard about problems in Wilson's marriage though. In Babies & Bathwater he makes it quite clear to House - and to us - that he's having problems at home:
Wilson: "I've got no kids, my marriage sucks. I've only got two things that work for me; this job and this stupid, screwed-up friendship, and neither mattered enough to you to give one lousy speech."
"They mattered. If I could do it all again..."
"You'd do the same thing. Well, you'll be gone soon, too."
In Sex Kills we hear that maybe House is part of the reason things aren't working out:
[House and Wilson are playing foosball]
House: "Are you going to tell her?"
Wilson: "That you suspect an affair? Sure. She already hates you, why not? [...] There's nothing to tell."
House: "Why are you playing foosball here at 8 o'clock at night?"
[House's pager starts beeping]
Wilson: "You always want to simplify everything. Boil it down to nice, easy equations; nice, easy answers."
House: [starts walking off] "Go home and have sex with your wife."
So we get Wilson trying to tell House that it's not a simple problem, House having no sympathy and prescribing sex as a cure, and Wilson saying that Julie hates House - is she jealous of the amount of time Wilson spends with him, or does she just not like him? Let's face it, on first impressions House is definitely not likable!

Actually, the fact that Wilson is playing foosball with House at 8pm should have told him that there was no affair - if he had another woman to go to, wouldn't he be spending time with her rather than with House?

In Damned if you Do we get the first sign that Wilson has problems at home:

Wilson: You want to come over for Christmas dinner?

House: You’re Jewish.

Wilson: Hanukkah dinner. What do you care? It’s food, it’s people.

House: No thanks.

Wilson: Maybe I’ll come to your place.

House: Your wife doesn’t mind being alone at Christmas?

Wilson: I’m a doctor, she’s used to being alone. [House raises his eyebrows] I don’t want to talk about it.

House: Neither do I.
Actually that brings us on to something else. Wilson doesn't want to talk maybe because he doesn't know how to, or doesn't know what to say. But House isn't the sort of person who likes to talk about anything personal unless it's just for his own knowledge and satisfaction:
House: Your shirt is ironed. That means you haven't told your wife anything.
Wilson: Let's say you're right.
House: You're saying I'm right?
Wilson: No. Let us say. Does it occur to you that maybe there's some deeper guidance than ‘keep your mouth shut’? That maybe a friend might value concern over glibness? That maybe... maybe I'm going through something that I need to have an actual conversation about?
[Beat. House’s pager goes off – he checks it]
House: Does it occur to you that if you need that kind of a friend, that you may have made some deeper errors?
Still, despite the lack of sympathy, he goes to House when he needs somewhere to stay - not to a hotel (which a doctor in his position could easily afford) or to any other friend.
[House opens the door to Wilson standing there wearing a shirt, scarf and overcoat with a packed suitcase next to him]
Wilson: Could I stay with you for a few days?
House: You idiot. You told her.
Wilson: She told me. [House is stunned into silence] Things have been crappy at home lately; I figured I wasn't spending enough time with her. I figured... Turns out you're right, it's always about sex. She's been having an affair.
[They stare at each other for a few seconds then House moves back to let Wilson in]
House: Want a beer?
So even if House isn't the supportive, advice-giving friend that Wilson is, at least he'll lend him his sofa...


Blogger Nakanna Lee said...

Great quotes...

There are times when I think House treats Wilson with too much sarcasm, I think there's a part of House that doesn't like outward shows of weakness. He likes seeing how far he can push and provoke people until they take a stand against them, which explains a lot of the banter between he and Wilson in "Safe."

Still, there's a lot of unsaid emotion on his face when he talks with Wilson. The tense "Babies and Bathwater" scene, where Wilson tells him he resigns, exposes House's more humbled side (even though he goes right back to asking for those patient files). And in "House vs. God," House's expression is really telling during this exchange:

House: You need neediness.
Wilson: Yeah. Lucky for you.

I don't think House realizes how much he needs Wilson, either--or, at least, doesn't want to show that dependecy. Their personalities/friendship do balance each other out very well, though.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Nakanna Lee said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:48 PM  
Blogger $erenitY said...

I think House's : "Wanna beer?" is acutally him showing sympathy and caring in his very own way. Usually he takes every chance to strike with sarcasm, but not this time. I think Wilson sees these moments, and that what keeps this friendship alive, House cares, just in a very, very strange way in my oppinion

1:08 AM  
Blogger Heart Of Darkness said...

I love this post - I'm House-challenged in the form that I would actually kick an elderly woman out of the way if I could get to the TV faster when there's an episode on (what, we all gotta go someday)

Plus, I love Wilson. How can you not love him? Then again, three marriages? All ending in someone cheating? he's cheating, she's cheating... maybe he just shouldn't get married? :)

9:57 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

In terms of revealing more of the wilson-house dynamic, I loved this episode and the ones following very much even though I admit I was initially disappointed at House's lack of sympathy at first glance. But that is just the way things are - because that's who House is, and Wilson of course has the right to feel frustrated that House is not being more supportive but he chose to be House's best friend, so he knew what he was getting in their 'stupid, screwed-up friendship.'

What Nakanna says about House's unsaid emotion is absolutely true. And we do know that House is willing to make time for Wilson because there was one scene in 'Safe', I think, where House was like 'no, tonight you will sit on the couch and depress us both..' or something.

I guess the bottom line is that Wilson knows that House cares and he is grateful for that no matter how abrasive and mean House is towards him. In any case the most telling action is (as everyone has pointed out) the fact that Wilson moved in with House instead of going to a hotel..

3:01 PM  
Blogger anca_saphire said...

I think that quote about the neediness describes perfectly the Wilson / House relationship.
House needs someone who can put up with him and Wilson is the only one who can.
I think House needs this relationship much more than Wilson does. When he works he needs his team and in the rest of the time he needs Wilson. He can choose to ignore their comments but he needs them there, to show him the reality.
In the "Mirror, mirror" episode, the patient chose to copy Wilson's behaviour and not House's. To me, that shows exactly how important Wilson is.
He may seem week but he isn't.

4:09 PM  
Blogger football12345 said...

house and wilson balance eachother

8:35 PM  
Blogger football12345 said...

my bad, that last post way to test google and see if my posts worked. ok i have to write a paper on house and you bloggers..i love house and watch every week. any of you guys wanna post on how house/wilson are foil characters of eachother? would be awesome..

8:43 PM  
Blogger football12345 said...

house is the man

10:50 PM  
Blogger football12345 said...

house is the man

10:51 PM  

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